Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland

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Brittany Bowe (USA) was in a league of her own in the ladies' 1000m on the opening day of the third ISU World Cup Speed Skating meet of the 2018/19 season and the first ever in the Arena Lodowa in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. The American was more than a second faster than second-placed Miho Takagi (JPN). Meanwhile, Vanessa Herzog (AUT) won the ladies' 500m and the Japanese ladies collected their 10th consecutive World Cup gold in the Team Pursuit.

Herzog takes over in absence of Kodaira

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Austria's Vanessa Herzog set a track record in the 500m © International Skating Union

After winning the first four 500m races of the season, Nao Kodaira (JPN) did not travel to Tomaszów Mazowiecki. In her absence Vanessa Herzog (AUT), who had come second in all four previous races, took full advantage to take gold in a track record time of 37.97. Olga Fatkulina (RUS) took silver in 38.07 and her compatriot Daria Kachanova collected her second career bronze World Cup medal.

Herzog rose to the top of the 500m World Cup standings with 276 points. On Saturday, she will have a chance to increase her lead over Kodaira, who is second with 240 points. Fatkulina, currently third with 218 points, will be aiming to overtake Kodaira on Saturday. The Japanese sprint queen will return for next week's World Cup event in Heerenveen, Holland. 

Bowe leaves opposition in her wake

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America's Bowe won the ladies' 1000m by over a second © International Skating Union

"I'm starting to find my stride again", said Brittany Bowe (USA) after she dominated the 1000m race. Bowe shattered Natalia Czerwonka's track record (1:17.44) to finish in 1:15.39. She left pair-mate Miho Takagi (JPN) behind from the start and consistently increased her gap during the race, from 0.33 seconds at the 200m split, to 0.83 seconds at the 600m split and 1.03 at the finish line. Takagi still took hold of the silver medal, while Kachanova clinched her second bronze medal of the day in 1:16.57.

"My goal was to not blow it in the first 200m and the first lap, but just to try to stay consistent, because I knew Miho would have a hard last lap,” said Bowe, who was in front at the final crossover after coming from the outer lane.

"When I went over the top of her in that last lap, I knew I was on a good one, so that got me over the finish line."

Bowe was glad to be back on top in World Cups after two years of struggles due to a concussion injury.

"It seems like it's back to my old self. It's been a really tough two years. I had a dream come true with bronze at the Olympics in Team Pursuit and it feels good to be back on top again in the 1500m and the 1000m.

"Who knows, I might be on the other end next week. The level of the girls that are skating right now is pretty awesome,” she added.

Bowe overtook Nao Kodaira and Vanessa Herzog, who finished sixth in 1:17.08, to move top of the 1000m World Cup ranking. Bowe has collected 157 points in three races, while Takagi is second with 148 points and Herzog lies third with 146 points. Kodaira has dropped to sixth place on 108 points. 

Tenth consecutive World Cup gold for Japan

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Japan's ladies made it 10 wins on the trot in the Team Pursuit © International Skating Union

The Japanese ladies claimed their 10th consecutive World Cup win in the Team Pursuit. Ayano Sato and the Takagi sisters Miho and Nana finished in 3:02.49 to beat Russia’s Yevgenia Lalenkova, Natalya Voronina and Elizaveta Kazelina, who came second in 3:04.10. Canada (Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann, Keri Morrison) took bronze in 3:05.70. Japan leads the World Cup rankings with 360 points, ahead of Russia (300) and Canada (290).

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